A quick update in the midst of a busy week, in which I at least had a chance to watch Roger Federer's first match in Hamburg with his new racquet he is experimenting with. Everything looked good initially in the first set. What I often find so surprising in tennis, however, is how quickly things can change with dramatic results. In what seemed to be no time at all, Federer was suddenly down a break and Daniel Brands (who gave Rafael Nadal some problems at the French Open this year) was serving for the first set. Maybe Roger just wanted to make him feel good on his birthday, which is today, because in the second and third sets he was back in control again without too much worry, other than taking a little longer than I would like to close out the match at 3-6 6-3 6-2.
Sometimes tricky matches can be helpful in the beginning of a tournament and I'm hoping this will be the case in this situation. He needs time to get used to this new 98 inch (compared to the 90 he has been using for years) Wilson racquet. I personally am very glad he is giving this a try. He has been called stubborn at times by some, which great champions often can be, wanting to continue to use the techniques that have worked so well in the past. After his surprising early round loss at Wimbledon this year, though, it became obvious something needed to change if he wanted to continue at the top of his game, having already dropped to #5 in the rankings. Hopefully this move will give him some new power and a larger sweet spot to work with for his ultra-sweet shots. Confidence is also key as he goes into the second half of the season and some wins, especially a tournament win, would certainly help him in this regard.